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Our Noticias, 8/21/20: Welcome to the Sixto Sánchez era

The Marlins begin a critical road trip with plans to insert their top prospect into the starting rotation.

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Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

More farm firepower

Shortstop Miguel Rojas became the first of the COVID-19-infected Marlins players to matriculate back to the active roster. Unfortunately, none of the others are able to contribute on this critical seven-day, eight-game road trip that begins Friday night in DC.

Instead, the Fish are unleashing a pair of top prospects to rejuvenate their playoffs hopes: right-hander Sixto Sánchez and outfielder Jesús Sánchez (no relation).

Both were acquired as the centerpieces of 2019 trades—Sixto coming from the Phillies organization in the J.T. Realmuto blockbuster, while Jesús (developed by the Rays) was packaged with Ryne Stanek in exchange for Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards. Neither call-up has been officially announced yet, but...

Here are their career stats through the end of 2019 (Jesús’ includes a couple cups of coffee in the Dominican Winter League):

Sixto Sánchez
Jesús Sánchez

You can watch recent highlights of both on the Fish Stripes YouTube channel.

Beyond 2020, Sixto will have two more minor league option years and Jesús will have one more. I hate to even bring that up, but the majority of talented prospects to break through to The Show so far during this rebuild didn’t have immediate positive impacts. Taking the optimistic viewpoint, if the Sánchezes are here to stay, they’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2024 and hit free agency following the 2026 season.

Nationals series preview

The Fish (9-9) are technically coming off being swept by the division-rival Mets. It’s not quite that simple—the teams were supposed to complete their four-game series on Thursday, but two members of New York’s traveling party (one player and one coach) received positive COVID-19 test results, abruptly postponing the game. To preserve the integrity of this MLB season and avoid any further disruptions to the Marlins schedule, we should all be rooting for the infected Mets to have speedy recoveries.

Now, a bizarre five-game wrap-around matchup with the Nationals (9-12) that includes one contest on Saturday where the Marlins will serve as the home team.

Probable starters: Friday—RHP Elieser Hernandez (1.84 ERA, 2.26 FIP in 14.1 IP) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (3.91 ERA, 3.45 FIP in 23.0 IP); Saturday (1)—TBA vs. RHP Max Scherzer (3.71 ERA, 3.41 FIP in 26.2 IP); Saturday (2)—TBA vs. TBA

Notable absences: Old friend Starlin Castro had a typical-for-him .267/.302/.450 slash line through 16 games before fracturing his right wrist in the field. He’ll be undergoing surgery today and isn’t expected back for about a month. 2019 World Series hero Stephen Strasburg is out as well while the Nats run more tests to determine what’s wrong with his right hand.

After some initial reports from Craig Mish floating the possibility of Sandy Alcantara returning from COVID-19 for this series, his timetable has been pushed back slightly. Also, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (right oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list to make room for Rojas on the active roster. Venditte had not allowed a run through his first three appearances (4 13 innings).

Walk-off links

  • Prepare to be dazzled” by Sixto, Fish On The Farm explains.
  • Baseball Prospectus tempers expectations for Jesús, but projects him to get substantial playing time right away.
  • Another pitcher poised to make his MLB debut with the Marlins this weekend? Left-hander Brandon Leibrandt. Matt Gelb of The Athletic has his fascinating story.
  • Current 2020 Marlins playoff odds according to FanGraphs: 13.3%.
  • FanGraphs has completed its annual MLB Trade Value series. No Marlins players made it on the top-50 list or honorable mentions.
  • Former Marlins shortstop Álex González joins the latest episode of the Humana Cabana Insider Show
  • And lastly, a tribute to the current Marlins shortstop: